Despite the rain, the audience came in great numbers to hear the American rapper Freddie Gibbs at Montreal MURAL Festival on June, 15, 2019, with a mural of Spanish artists Pichiavo in the background. To avoid crowds or gatherings, the 2020 MURAL Estival organized online music presentations. (Photo Credits: Darwin Doleyres)
In a city where festivals are almost as numerous as churchtowers, a summer event that cannot go unnoticed is Montreal MURAL Festival. Usually happening over a dozen days in mid-June with a flurry of visual art, installations and music acts taking over the St-Laurent Bvd, the international street art celebration has reinvented itself this year with an extended edition calledMURAL Estival – a bilingual pun on “summertime” in French. Running from June until September, this has been a feast – albeit digital – for the eyes and the ears.
Like previous years, MURAL Estival has been quietly transforming “the Main” – this is the way Montrealers call the St. Laurent Bvd -, but it has also expanded its reach as new artwork has also sprouted on the walls and on the pavement of other neighbourhoods.
In the Entertainment District, a ‘tricot-graffiti’ (yarn bombing) entitled “Tricotés serrés” was painted on the median strip between the road and the bike path, while in Côte-des-Neiges, a mural on the Jewish General Hospital was painted as an homage to the health workers who have been working so hard during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Except for two Ontarian artists, this edition focuses on local artists, and includes more digital events. Two murals have been created in July, respectively “Instinct” by digital visual artist Fvckrenderand “Jardin secret” by French muralist Ankhone. Five more murals are in the works and should be ready for passersby to enjoy by the end of August. Check out the festival’s dynamic map showing all the murals created since the first edition in 2013.
The mural “Instinct” was designed by visual artist Frédéric Duquette, a.k.a. Fvckrender, whose work went from digital to physical for his participation at MURAL Estival. The work was painted by Jeremy Shantz, a polyvalent artist from British Columbia now living in Montreal. (Photo Credits: JF Galipeau)
The 2020 Mural Estival edition has kept a low profile in June and July, but with the gradual lifting of the shutdown and the closure of the St-Laurent Bvd to traffic for 10 days starting August 13, it has regained its territory. For instance, Montreal native Francorama (aka Franco Égalité) has designed and painted “Together apart with street art”, an immersive terrasse that has been providing a safe space to sit and have a drink while respecting physical distancing measures.
More francophone musicians
MURAL Festival started just like that in 2013: “the Main” was closed to cars during the summer season, which literally opened new avenues for artistic expression. Hip hop, rap and electronic music were quickly added to the programming, which gradually included more francophone musicians as the hip hop scene was maturing in Quebec.
“The festival’s headquarters initially was in a parking lot on St. Laurent, between Sherbrooke and Prince-Arthur. We rented it to produce murals around, and we set up a tent in the center with a DJ kit, and we were lucky enough to have Kaytranada as he was just starting his career.”Pierre-Alain Benoît, General Director, MURAL festival
“Last year, the francophone scene exploded, and we diversified our music presentations with more Quebec DJS and bands like Alaclair Ensemble, Dead Obies or Milk & Bone. The two crowds – anglophone and francophone – are getting more mixed nowadays,” Benoît said.
New technologies mixing music and visual arts
Of course, the usual music presentations produced by MURAL, where thousands of Montrealers and tourists used to spend the night in the street, are not happening this year. Event organizers had to find new ways to produce their cultural happenings and stay alive despite the shutdown, and that’s when social media became instrumental.
Luckily, MURAL could take advantage of its international reputation. “About 65% of our Instagram followers are watching from abroad,” says Benoît. “In the physical world we already had ‘art battles” with visual artists painting live during a music presentation, but this was not easy to do online,” he added.
“The concept that has been most popular among our international viewers is a visual animation performed by artists on the live images of a music show, like an online VJ session broadcast with a new app called Tagtool.” Pierre-Alain Benoît
In 2019, the MURAL Festival organized “Tagtool Party”, a workshop where people were invited to express their creativity using an app that allowed them to paint with light or make animated graffiti with an iPad. (Photo Credits: JF Galipeau)
An Instagram functionality allowing two different video feeds to be broadcast at the same time on screen also came in handy for MURAL. During the weekly Split Sessions broadcast each Thursday at 6:00pm, viewers can enjoy free live music shows/artistic happenings on MURAL Estival’s Instagram.
For instance, on August 6, actress and singer Claudia Bouvette was singing in English and French on the bottom part of the screen while on the top half, pop artist Antoine Tava was painting a pair of initially white Stan Smith tennis shoes.
Another great session was this past Thursday, August 20, when the festive band Clay and Friends shared their Instagram presentation with Miss Cloudy, an expert in the art of paper folding. Watching her turn unidimensional sheets of paper into a 3D artwork is a unique way to discover the creative process of a designer that has collaborated with cultural institutions such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, or les Grands Ballets Canadiens.
Meanwhile, Mike Clay and his friends were bringing their joie de vivre to fans watching from Canada and Europe, where the band performed innumerous shows last year after releasing the album La Musica Popular de Verdun.
Much praise for Quebec’s new pop darling
During last year’s tour, Clay and Friends often opened for Quebec new star Les Louanges. Although you’d expect to hear a band, behind the plural name – meaning The Praises in French – is one young man who was baptized as Vincent Roberge.
Unlike Clay and Friends, Les Louanges is not singing in an indoor venue this Saturday, but rather on the rooftop of the PHI Centre, in Old Montreal. This art gallery, known for its involvement in contemporary art and virtual reality, was founded in 2012, like the MURAL Festival. Both cultural institutions have been collaborating on various projects throughout the years, and this August 22nd rooftop show is designed to be an event marking a resurgence of activity in troubled times.
The PHI Centre programming director, Renelle Desjardins, said she wanted to cast Les Louanges for her summer online music series Sonication.
“I don’t usually pick francophone artists, but Vincent (aka Les Louanges) is different. He is very creative, very fresh. This is not the usual ‘chanson francophone’.” Renelle Desjardins, PHI Centre programming director
Sonication features live shows recorded on the rooftop of the historic building and broadcast in real time on screens throughout the PHI Centre, and then shown as a web series each Wednesday on PHI’s Facebook page.
Apart from Les Louanges, Desjardins said she also selected the Montreal band Random Recipe, who played at the PHI Centre in the first years of its existence and went on touring the world. “This is the kind of artists that are fit for both audiences, the one that frequents the PHI Centre and the MURAL festival-goers,” she said.
Although the PHI Centre’s music stage and top notch studio were designed by sound engineers and acousticians, the place is mostly known for its art gallery, says Renelle Desjardins, who sees this collaboration with MURAL Estival as a way to boost its international reputation.
At the crossroads of art and technology
This shutdown has forced event programmers out of their comfort zone, and in a way, this is for the better. The audience gets to discover new artists, such as Montreal DJ and producer Hologramme (aka Clément Leduc) whose minimalistic electronic productions evoke cinematic images. He will be playing live on August 27’s MURAL Estival’s Split Sessions, along with visual artist Josiane Lanthier.
Some of the Sunshine Coast’s young musical-theatre talent will be showing what they can do when they hit the stage this weekend at the Heritage Playhouse in Gibsons. The production team Synergy at Play, led by Varya Rubin and Bill Moysey, has been running a two-week performance intensive for youth, preparing for their show, A Little Bit of Broadway. There will be three performances: Friday, Aug. 6 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Aug 7 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Seats are limited due to ongoing pandemic protocols. Tickets are $15, $10 for kids aged six to 12, five and under are free. Available at email@example.com.
Music to our ears
There’s a passion to hear live, in-person performance here on the Coast after close to 17 months of doing without. Shows are selling quickly. You cannot get tickets now to see the Rogue Arts Festival show with Brothers in Farms and Staggers and Jaggs at the 101 in Gibsons on Saturday, Aug. 7, the Brandon Isaak concert at the Clubhouse Restaurant in Pender Harbour on Aug. 8, or the SoulShine Garden Concert with Dawn Pemberton on Aug. 12. But there is still plenty to enjoy. Here are just a few of the musical offerings in coming days (check the Coast Reporter’s Community Calendar and Coast Cultural Alliance’s website for more). Shows marked “free” may also feature a handy tip jar:
Charlotte Wrinch plays the Clubhouse Restaurant at the Pender Harbour Golf Club on Friday Aug. 6 from 5 to 9 p.m. On Sunday, Aug. 8, The Burying Ground will be there with its great, toe-tapping vintage jazz-blues from 2 to 5 p.m.
The Roberts Creek Legion is opening its stage for individuals or groups to play on Friday, Aug. 6 from 4 to 8 p.m. To reserve performance or jamming time, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Burying Ground plays there Saturday, Aug. 7 from 4 to 9 p.m.
At noon on Saturday, Aug. 7, at the Sechelt Summer Music Series behind the library, hear the reggae rhythms of Pete Catastrophe, followed at 1 p.m. by the Wanda Nowicki Trio. Free.
The 1 p.m. show at Music in The Landing at Winegarden Park in Gibsons features the Gambier Island acoustic duo, Kansas and Johnny. At 7 p.m., electric grit-blues maestros Georgia Fats will get you smiling and swaying. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Free.
The vocal and guitar stylings of Martinez will be on tap from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Tapworks in Gibsons, Saturday, Aug. 7.
Slow Sundays in The Creek, behind the library in Roberts Creek, has another creatively varied lineup for Aug. 8. The Whirlwind Woodwind Quintet starts things off at noon, with teen singer-songwriter Kaishan performing at 1 p.m., and the Martini Madness Band at 2 p.m. Free.
Indoor seating is still limited, but the Coast’s two main movie theatres have reopened. Raven’s Cry Thetare in Sechelt is screening films nightly, as is Gibsons Cinema, which is also running weekend matinees. Check your local listings.
Officially unveiling the latest installation in downtown Timmins windows are (left to right): Timmins James Bay MP Charlie Angus, Coun. Cory Robin, who represents the city on the BIA board; and BIA chairman Jamie Roach.
(Bob McIntyre, MyTimminsNow.com staff)
Six sets of two posters each that are showing up in vacant store windows in downtown Timmins are the work of two Toronto artists. They are, however, on the theme of “Living in Timmins.”
The artwork is financed by a Toronto-based organization dedicated to brightening up downtowns.
Timmins BIA executive director Cindy Campbell says that group will issue a public call for artists this fall.
“Based on Northern Ontario and especially Timmins’ participation,” she points out, “they’re specifically reaching out to indigenous and northern artists to become part of the roster so their artwork can be shown across Canada.”
Campbell says any time someone stops to look at the art, they could realize that there’s potential in that store space.
“All of a sudden that maybe Mom and Pop business idea that was in the back of your head becomes a reality,” she remarks. “‘If I can showcase my products like they’re showcasing what they’re doing, I have a chance at a business.’”
The art was officially unveiled on Wednesday at the following addresses:
The annual Skeena Salmon Art Show is set to kick off this Friday (Aug. 6) at the Terrace art gallery before moving along to Hazelton in September and Smithers in October.
The fourth annual show will have a wide variety of different types of art on display, including painting, carving, jewelry and sculpture.
“This exhibition unites communities across the northwest, showcasing our collective love for salmon,” said Dave Gordon, Skeena Salmon Art Fest president, adding that he is excited that the show will also stop in Hazelton and Smithers this year.
“As sister communities along the Skeena, we rely on salmon to sustain our cultures and natural environments. We very much look forward to seeing how artist communities will come together to celebrate salmon through art.”
Several esteemed artists will have their work on display at the show, like Stan Bevan, Alex and Michelle Stoney, Carly Nabess, Cathrine Blackburn, among others.
Up to $2,000 in prize money is available in the juried section of the exhibit, with this year’s jury composed of Mike Dangeli, Vanessa Gill and Theresa Schober. For the People’s Choice Award, members of the public are encouraged to vote for their favourite artwork.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.